Prof. Schmalstieg

Humboldt Professorship for the University of Stuttgart

November 23, 2022, Nr. 81

Dieter Schmalstieg from the Graz University of Technology receives Germany’s most highly endowed research prize
[Picture: Humboldt-Stiftung]

Dieter Schmalstieg, an elite researcher in virtual and augmented reality, receives one of the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Professorships. He is to transfer from the Graz University of Technology to the University of Stuttgart to take up the professorship. The research prize is endowed with EUR 5 million.

This is a big win for the Department of Computer Science at the University of Stuttgart. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has announced that Prof. Dr. Dieter Schmalstieg from the Graz University of Technology has been selected as one of six leading international researchers for an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. This is the most highly endowed science award in Germany and is backed by a grant of EUR 5 million for five years.

Schmalstieg is a leading global expert in virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). He is to continue his internationally successful research in visual computing at the University of Stuttgart.

“With Dieter Schmalstieg, the University of Stuttgart has gained not only an internationally renowned scientist in the field of virtual and augmented reality but also a new, highly prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Professorship. This strengthens our Department of Computer Science as well as our Clusters of Excellence IntCDC and SimTech. It is an outstanding success for the University of Stuttgart as a whole,” says Prof. Wolfram Ressel, Rectorate of the University of Stuttgart.

“I am delighted to be awarded the Humboldt Professorship and look forward to continuing my work at the University of Stuttgart. The Visualization Research Center of the University of Stuttgart is an internationally renowned research institution in the field of visual computing, and it is a great honor for me to be accepted here”, says Prof. Dieter Schmalstieg from the Graz University of Technology and future Humboldt Professor at the University of Stuttgart.

Schmalstieg was nominated for the Humboldt Professorship by the University of Stuttgart and has now been selected for it. He conducts research on virtual and aug-mented reality.

Coupling artificial intelligence and human interaction

Schmalstieg has been involved in visual computing for decades. His research focuses on VR and AR, systems that merge the perception of the real world with interactive computer graphics. Schmalstieg’s technical systems function in real time and enable human–computer interaction – even for complex processes.

His research projects couple artificial intelligence (IA) and human interaction and aim at Intelligence Amplification (IA), the support of humans in challenging tasks by technical systems. Because many real-life problems cannot be solved with the help of AI alone, this branch of research is highly relevant. For example, making medical diagnoses or operating power plants would be inconceivable without human evaluation and monitoring.

Schmalstieg has made groundbreaking advances by combining real and virtual imagery to generate photorealistic images. In application areas such as entertainment or immersive shopping, virtual elements projected into images of the real environment should be indistinguishable from real ones. This is particularly challenging because information about incident light and material properties is unknown. Using numerical optimization and machine learning, Schmalstieg’s group has been working on methods to reliably calculate photometric properties and approximate illumination in real time and with few observations.

About Prof. Dr. Dieter Schmalstieg

Dieter Schmalstieg, a native of Austria, received his doctorate and habilitation from the Vienna University of Technology. In 2004, he took up a professorship at the Graz University of Technology. Since 2012, he has headed the Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision, which has grown considerably under his leadership. He is a Fellow of IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and was awarded the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award in 2012, and the START-Preis, Austria’s most highly endowed and recognized science award for young researchers.

Schmalstieg was selected for the Humboldt Professorship in November 2022. This will be awarded to him in 2023 if he successfully completes appointment negotiations with the University of Stuttgart, which nominated him.

About the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

The Alexander von Humboldt Professorship is Germany’s most highly endowed international research award, which honors internationally leading scientists and scholars who have previously worked abroad. The award is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It gives German universities the opportunity to attract top international researchers to their institutions, to offer internationally competitive framework conditions, and to raise their profile in the face of global competition.

Expert Contact:

Prof. Dr. Dieter Schmalstieg, Graz University of Technology, Institute of Computer Graphics and Vision, E-mail, Telephone:  +43 (316) 873 - 5070

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